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How to Bake with Sugar Substitutes

By: Julie Hand
February 8, 2018

How to Bake with Sugar Substitutes
  • Natural sweeteners like erythritol, MitoSweet, monk fruit, raw honey, stevia, and xylitol are notoriously healthier than sugar.
  • However, each sweetener presents unique variables when substituted for sugar in baking. Read below for details on how to bake with each sweetener.
  • Get a printable version of Bulletproof Baking Conversion Chart for Sugar Substitutes Infographic here.

For the health-conscious baker, it can be challenging to find the best sugar substitutes in the right amounts and not ruin your recipes. Natural sweeteners like stevia and xylitol are healthier options than sugar – that’s a no-brainer – but how to cook with them?

Bulletproof-approved sweeteners, like xylitol, erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit extract, are the sugar substitutes least likely to cause blood sugar spikes and, being all-natural, don’t contain any funky chemicals like artificial sweeteners do. Most are naturally low in carbs, too, for those on keto.  

While any of these natural sweeteners generally taste great in lieu of sugar, baking presents a totally different set of challenges. When you bake, you have to account for texture and volume, which can also throw off cooking time. That’s why baking with sugar substitutes can throw you a curveball. The typical sweetener-to-sugar ratio won’t cut it in all cases – and can lead to crystallization of your goods.

All in all, substitutions are not that simple, so don’t be too hard on yourself the first time baking with them. “Warm up to experimentation and address every recipe individually,” says chef Vanessa Musi. “Some ingredients create structure, some bind. You have to get a feel for it.”

This sugar substitutes baking chart below is as close as it gets to fool-proof conversions. Tack this chart on your fridge and get cooking.

Baking notes to consider:

Erythritol: Use no more than ½ cup in a recipe to avoid crystallization and dryness. Erythritol is best for recipes you’ll be eating that day, as there is a cooling effect to the sweetness after more than one day. It contains about 75% the sweetening power of sugar.

Mitosweet: Mitosweet is fantastic as a sugar substitute in beverages – your favorite coffee or smoothie. It can be used for baking, though test it out on a smaller batch before going full-boar with it in the kitchen. 

Monk Fruit Extract: Pure Monk Fruit extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar, but does not bake well in its purest form. Use it to sweeten a fat bomb, pannacotta, gelatin, or any raw dessert – any time where you don’t need a lot of sugar for texture in a cold application.

Raw Honey: Diabetics should avoid raw honey altogether as it possesses a high glycemic index. Remember to reduce liquids overall in your recipe if you are substituting raw honey for sugar. For one cup of sugar, use 3/4 cup of honey, then reduce your wet ingredients by 1/4 cup. Also note: the minute you cook raw honey, you destroy its antioxidants, enzymes, and nutrients so it’s no longer Bulletproof. Only use honey in raw/cold desserts.

Stevia: Stevia is great for baking with fruit in particular, and high temperatures don’t affect its sweetening properties. While stevia doesn’t provide the same texture as sugar, it is one of the best sweeteners to bake with.

Xylitol: Be mindful of your sensitivity to xylitol, as it’s not easy for all to digest. It bakes well for those who can consume it, does not caramelize, and tastes delicious. Great to use in combination with other sweeteners too. Remember, xylitol is toxic to dogs – so keep it (and all baked goods containing it) out of reach from Fido.

Bulletproof Baking Conversion Chart for Sugar Substitutes Infographic

Get a printable version of Bulletproof Baking Conversion Chart for Sugar Substitutes Infographic here.

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